Anise, Pimpinella anisum of family Apiaceae, is a native herbaceous flowering plant of the Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. Its small edible seeds contain minerals and nutrients that are beneficial to human. For many centuries, anise seed has been used in cooking and treating various illnesses. The ancient Egyptians and Romans used anise seed in different purposes, mainly as food and herbal medicine. The aroma or flavor of anise seed resembles liquorice, tarragon, and fennel.
In terms of chemical composition, anise seed contains anethole, gamma-himachalene, phenylpropanoids, anisaldehyde, anethole, estragole, and myrcene. Of all the compounds mentioned, anethole gives the most powerful flavor. Anise seed also contains vitamins (e.g. pyridoxine, niacin, thiamin, & riboflavin) and minerals (e.g. potassium, copper, iron, calcium, zinc, manganese, and magnesium).
Here is a list of the medicinal uses of anise seeds:
- Increases milk secretion
- Promotes menstruation
- Help control menopausal symptoms
- Facilitates birth
- Increases libido
- Help relieve menstrual cramps
- Anti-parasitic and antimicrobial properties
- Used as breath freshener
- Help relieve cough and cold (expectorant)
- Promotes sleep by helping the body to relax
- Relieves spasmodic flatulence
- Helpful in treating spasmodic and whooping coughs
- Used to treat hiccups
- Aids in proper digestion
- Helps in treating skin disorders
- Used to treat nausea and vomiting
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